Professor Lisa Huettel Wins Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award

Lisa G. Huettel, assistant professor of the practice of electrical and computer engineering, has won the first Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.

Huettel, who received a plaque and $2,000 at the Engineering Alumni Banquet April 24, was nominated by Pratt undergraduates and selected by a faculty committee. “You should take great pride in the fact that in a school with many outstanding teachers, your contributions to our educational programs particularly stood out to both your students and your peers,” Pratt Dean Kristina M. Johnson said in notifying Huettel of the honor.

The award was named for the family of Stacy Klein, a 1991 Pratt graduate whose husband, Garrett Klein, and 4-year-old son, Bennett Derby Klein, were killed in a Georgia traffic accident Dec. 28, 2003, as the Kleins were driving from Florida to Nashville. Stacy Klein was injured in the accident. Garrett Klein was senior associate director of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University and Stacy Klein is an research assistant professor at the university and also teaches at the University School of Nashville.

Huettel, recently appointed director of undergraduate laboratories for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received a B.S. degree in Engineering Science from Harvard in 1994 and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Duke in 1996 and 1999. She was appointed assistant professor of the practice in 2002.

“Dr. Lisa Huettel is an amazing role model both for her dedication to students and her intellectual abilities,” said one student in nominating Huettel for the award. “She is always willing to help students and makes herself available at nearly any time for extra help, to write a recommendation, sponsor the Society of Women Engineers, attend a student-faculty event, or just discuss a student's career/life goals.”

“Best teacher ever,” said another student.

“She can explain things that I have learned and/or never learned before very well,” said a third student. “She is also very approachable and fair. Her class was challenging, but at the same time I was never stressing out about turning an impossible problem set in or feeling terrible after taking a test. I felt that I was learning something and then utilizing it.”

“She was very organized and always prepared for class and had clear, easy to follow lectures,” another student said. “She was very knowledgeable and always knew what she was talking about and could answer everyone's questions. ECE 61 was a beginning circuits class which can be very confusing but she made it easy to understand and really helped me excel and realize that electrical engineering actually wasn't that bad like I had expected it to be.”